FAQ for patients

If you have further questions that are not answered here, you are welcome to contact us.

Do I have to take out an insurance policy?

No. Anyone who is being treated in the public or private healthcare system is covered by the right to receive compensation and can therefore report an injury to The Patient Compensation Association. It's free.

Should I complain to the Patient Safety Authority first?

No. Injury claims do not have to be submitted to the Danish Patient Safety Authority (The Patient Complaints Board) first.

Who decides if I can receive compensation?

The Patient Compensation Association’s case workers, usually with the assistance of doctors who assess whether there are grounds to award compensation in accordance with the Danish Act on the Right to Complain and Receive Compensation within the Health Service. The compensation amount is determined by the Danish Liability for Damages Act.

Can I trust the doctors who are helping to assess my case?

Yes. A doctor is not permitted to assess an injury if, for example, it occurred at the hospital or in the practice where the doctor is employed or was employed at the time when the injury occurred. If it is discovered that a doctor was disqualified in a case, the case must be reopened and assessed by a different doctor.

What types of injuries are covered?

  • Injuries which could have been avoided, because an experienced specialist in the same situation would have acted differently.

  • Injuries due to failure or malfunction of technical devices and the like.

  • Injuries which could have been avoided by another equally effective treatment, technique or method.

  • Injuries which are very rare and serious in relation to the illness the patient is being treated for, and which exceed what one can reasonably be expected to tolerate.

  • Injuries caused by medicine or due to an error in medication.

What is not covered by the law?

  • Injuries due to the illness or the accident the patient is being treated for are not covered.

  • The fact that a treatment does not lead to the expected cure or recovery can not solely lead to compensation. 

  •  If the compensation does not exceed DKK 7460 (in 2018), injuries are not covered.

What rules apply if the patient dies before a decision or before compensation is paid?

It is not a requirement that the injury is reported before the patient dies in order to be eligible for compensation. If a patient dies due to an injury for which he/she is eligible for compensation, compensation will be awarded for the loss of provider to the deceased’s surviving spouse/cohabiting partner and/or to underage children. Likewise, compensation for expenses incurred and loss of earnings will be awarded to the deceased’s estate.

The only compensation awards that can be affected by a patient death before the completion of a case are the awards for permanent injury and loss or reduction of ability to work. According to the law, a reduction is imposed taking into consideration how long the patient lived with the consequences of the injury.

Am I covered if I am treated at a private hospital on my own initiative?

All authorized treatments are covered by the compensation scheme, regardless of whether you are referred. For example, this applies to private hospitals, private nursing homes, private practice specialists, your own doctor and physical therapists ect.

Does it matter whether the doctor admits that an injury has occurred?

According to the Danish Act on the Right to Complain and Receive Compensation, it does not matter whether the doctor who treated a patient believes that he or she has or has not caused a patient injury. The Patient Compensation Association assesses whether the doctor has acted in accordance with the best specialist standard. If the doctor has not done so, compensation is awarded for the injury.

In what cases is compensation not awarded, even if it is found that an injury has occurred?

According to the law, the Patient Compensation Association must assess whether doctors and other healthcare professionals have acted as the best and most experienced colleague would have acted in the same circumstances (often called the “specialist rule”).

If the experienced colleague in the area would have done the same, it is not permitted to then apply a so-called hindsight consideration and incorporate later discovered information about the patient’s condition.

The critical factor is to consider the doctor’s position at the time of the examination and to answer the following question: would the best and most experienced colleague have acted differently? If this is found to be the case, compensation is awarded if the patient has suffered an injury that could have been avoided. If the best and most experienced colleague would have done the same, the patient cannot be awarded compensation according to the law.

There is no so-called objective liability in the Danish Act on the Right to Complain and Receive Compensation.

Can I receive compensation for an injury caused by drugs?

Physical and mental injury after using a drug is covered by the law. The injury must go beyond what you can reasonably accept. This means that if you are seriously ill, then you have to accept more side effects than with less serious illnesses.

Can I receive compensation for dental injuries?

If you are injured in connection with dental treatment at a private practice dentist, regional dental clinic, municipal dental treatment schemes or the universities’ dental schools, you must report the injury to the The Collective Insurance under The Dental Association in Denmark.

If the injury occurred at a hospital, you must report the injury to The Patient Compensation Association.

What is compensated?

The law includes the following coverage: loss of earnings or work capacity, permanent injury, pain and suffering, as well as health expenses relating to treatment. In case of death, compensation can be paid for the loss of the provider and the coverage of funeral expenses.

What about interest and tax?

The compensation yields interest from the payment date with an annual interest rate equal to the National Bank’s lending rate plus 7 percent. Compensation awards are not taxable, except for compensation for loss of earnings. Tax must also be paid on all interest.

Can the injury be too old?

Injuries arising as from 1 January 2008 become statute-barred 3 years after you become aware of the injury. An absolute period of limitation of 10 years from the date of injury applies to both treatment related and drug injuries.

Am I covered if the injury occurred in the Faroe Islands or Greenland?

The Patient Compensation Association covers injuries occurring in the Faroe Islands but not in Greenland.